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As violence erupts, calls from panic-stricken residents flood PCR

While the Dera Sacha Sauda followers were upset after they were informed about the conviction of their chief, Gurmeet Ram Rahim, the situation turned more frightening for locals, who had been living in fear for the past three days.

Written by Jagpreet Singh Sandhu | Chandigarh |
Updated: August 26, 2017 4:45:35 am
panchkula, chandigarh, dera sacha sauda, rape verdict, haryana riots, indian express A vehicle set on fire by Dera followers on Panchkula-Zirakpur highway on Friday. Jaipal Singh

It was the control room landline phone that kept on ringing as residents of the most sensitive areas, Sector 2 and Sector 4, Panchkula, just wanted the police to reach their homes after the Dera mob started moving inside their residences. While the Dera Sacha Sauda followers were upset after they were informed about the conviction of their chief, Gurmeet Ram Rahim, the situation turned more frightening for locals, who had been living in fear for the past three days. The Dera rioters then started moving into the residence of the local area and damaging their cars and houses.

“Thank God, the phones were not switched off by the administration,” said Mrityunjay, a resident of Sector 4, who got his home saved from the Dera mob by calling the police control room. “That time, it turned horrifying for us when the news of Ram Rahim’s conviction was heard as the Dera followers, who could not be controlled by the police at the Hafed roundabout, started moving into our homes,” he further stated.

“We had been keeping a watch over the Dera people from our rooftop and, as my sister saw that they were bracing for violence, we bolted the door of our residence as the rioters could not be reined in by the police,” added Mrityunjay. “The rioters, in a group of 10, entered our residence and the neighbours’ houses with stones and sticks. As they set the car of neighbour Sanjeev Sharma ablaze, my mother immediately called the control room number given by the police. We informed the control room about the situation and thankfully, the forces reached our residence within a minute,” said Mritunjay.

Another Sector 2 resident, Puneet Katyal, said, “It was the worst for us as the Dera people were just trying to move towards the Panchkula district court, which is closest to Sector 2, and while heading towards the court, they were simply damaging houses on the way. We have been living in so much fear since they started halting at the nearby parks. On Friday afternoon, as the conviction of Ram Rahim was pronounced, these Dera followers were just finding things to set on fire in anger.”

Dera followers defecate in the open

Kamal Kaushal, a Sector 4 resident, said, “We were not only scared but also troubled by the Dera people, who had occupied the parks and pavements near our residence. Also, they were defecating in the open anywhere they wished to, which turned the area highly stinking.”

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